Tuesday, November 03, 2009

This Is It Madness

two brief but belated Oscar notes

For months now, people have been reciting various reasons why the 10-Wide Best Picture field is a bad idea. For all the chatter no one has yet talked about the most harmful effect of this decision: armchair and professional punditry has slipped, perhaps irrevocably, into insanity. The world has entirely forgotten what the Oscars are like or, rather, what they like. In the summer everyone seemed convinced that totally atypical films like Star Trek (X), The Hangover and District 9 were Best Picture likely. The new 'Best Pic Nominee To Be' is This Is It, the Michael Jackson documentary. [I've tried not to mention this article for well over 48ish hours but I've finally caved because it's been haunting my thoughts ever since. Share in the daymares with me!] That prediction comes despite the fact that Michael Jackson has never even been so much as a songwriting Oscar nominee and no documentary has ever performed that trick. In fact, I'm not sure you'd even be able to find a documentary that has managed more than 2 nominations -- on extremely rare occasions they'll cross over into the song field (An Inconvenient Truth) or maybe editing (Hoop Dreams). Unless Elizabeth Taylor gets 1000 ballots, I don't see this happening for Best Picture.

On a less provocative note, I told ya so on the animated nominees. I knew there'd be five. There's always more contenders than we're aware of... and it's always from the foreign cartoons as I've been saying all year. Why does no one listen to me? I need a new publicist. I'm smart about these things*.

*most of the time at least. if i'm wrong about any of those four pictures above... I will definitely say my mea culpas in February.
*


15 comments:

Arlo said...

Haha I love the 'animation' tag you got there.

Strange things have happened in Oscar history but I don't think it will be nominated, despite the fact that apparently it had quite the enthusiastic response at the screening.

Say it is nominated for best picture, then couldn't it still be nominated for best documentary next year? Or if you miss that cut off date during a given year, then it's all over and you can't be nominated for the following year? All these rules

Jude said...

Does any of this stem from Sherri Shepherd's endorsement of This Is It's Oscar campaign on The View a few days ago? She should focus on her own movie, Precious, instead of a lost cause like this.

NATHANIEL R said...

Jude, i have no idea where it stems from but even if it did have the "enthusiastic response" that Arlo and the article cite, so did Phantom of the Opera, remember which didn't do so well.

audience response, even AMPAS response in a theater is different than writing down film names on a ballot, or checking them off.

it seems like every year we hear of movies having these crazy responsive screeinngs and the film doesn't go anywhere. Didn't The Family Stone also get people excited at academy screenings?

Anyway, I would think concert films would definitely and rather automatically result in more boisterous inhouse response because it's vaguely like being at an actual concert where people applaud and go a little nuts because that's what you do at concerts and they're fun.

or perhaps i'm too cynical in the face of a movie that i haven't seen which feels quite cynical to me from the outside. But i wouldn't believe it about any documentary... because i just don't think the Academy thinks of them in that way, you know? i mean there have been foreign film nominees and animated nominees so they're somewhat flexible but a documentary nominee? never.

doesn't that mean something?

Erik said...

Yes! Exactly! Completely! I'm agin the 10 bp nominations anyway, since it fucks with tradition in order to not fix the things that are truly broken with AMPAS, but, yes, all the idiotic prognostications—some from PR firms, some from bloggers—make it even worse.

And if any of the movies you mentioned DO get nominated, it's not you who owes the mea culpa come February...

Rebecca said...

That article is clearly idiotic, as it contains two instances of unnecessary quotation marks.

Victor S said...

I think Woodstock is the most nominated documentary in Oscar history.
3 nominations in 1970 - Best Sound, Best Film Editing (Thelma Schoomaker first nomination) and Best Documentary, winning the last one.

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tim l. said...

Off topic, but we have our oscar host, or in this case, hosts: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Should be a fun time.

Denzel Hawke said...

To refute your "Michael Jackson has never been a Oscar nominee" claim, he actually was nominated for Best Original Song in 1973 for "Ben". Don't recall whether he was the actual writer of the song, but he did perform it. So Michael Jackson does have some history with the Oscars. Just putting it out there.

jessica said...

Yeah, Michael Jackson was nominated for 'Ben' when he was like, 15. He definitely didn't write the song though.

NATHANIEL R said...

jessica and denzel... the song was nominated, not Michael. He didn't write it.

it's kind of like the Madonna thing. They've nominated a song she's sung (sooner or later) but they clearly hate her because she's written so many fabulous movie songs and they've shunned them all.

Glenn Dunks said...

If she didn't write the song then he wasn't nominated. Mariah Carey and Whitney weren't nominated for The Prince of Egypt.

I doubt this movie could have even gotten a Best Documentary nomination to be perfectly honest with you.

Chris Na Taraja said...

I won the oscar pool 2 years ago, and This whole 10 best picture thing is upsetting my oscar pool winning skills.

Urey said...

The "This Is It" Academy screening was supposedly rapturous. It's never happened before, true, but if a documentary was ever going to make it into the BP lineup, it would be now, this subject matter, and an expanded 10-nominee field. It's one of those "hasn't happened until it's happened" stats, but not so far-fetched that it's a laughable proposition.

Gwen said...

Hey Nathaniel, Are the academy/oscar screenings of particular movies made public? Or are they only mentioned when a screening goes really well or really bad? I'm dying to know what movies have been screened for the academy and how they reacted to them!!